Verifying a rumor put out by BGR over a month ago, HTC has announced after a dismal end to 2011 (net profits fell 26% last quarter) that the company will be changing its handset strategy to focus on fewer, "hero" devices in the coming year. The problem of excessive handset iteration is one I've opined on before. It is a problem, and while it's unlikely that HTC's balance sheet woes were even in majority caused by the large number of handsets they released, making fewer models is certainly a way to cut costs and increase the amount of attention that goes into each product.
How many times have you dropped a phone in water? A puddle, bucket, bathtub, lake, toilet (don't act like it doesn't happen)... whatever. Phone attracting bodies of water are seemingly everywhere, and unless you're willing to put your phone in a ginormous waterproof case, once that beautiful piece of tech meets the life-affirming liquid substance, it's usually hosed (but sometimes rice can help).
Enter HzO, a company who looks to make our devices fully submergible.
More than a year after Android 2.3 Gingerbread made its debut, the Samsung Captivate (AT&T's Galaxy S clone) is finally getting its share of the goodness.
Users will need to install the update manually, using Kies Mini. Luckily, Samsung has provided a helpful set of instructions here.
While the update may be a little overdue, it's definitely good news for stock users who want to be one step closer to the latest and greatest iteration of Android.
You made your nominations, and you voted. Now we have a winner. The Andy for Best Non-Nexus Android Phone of 2011 goes to...
Best Non-Nexus Android Phone Of 2011: Readers' Choice
The Samsung Galaxy S II.
This really comes as no surprise. The Samsung Galaxy S II is still one of the most powerful handsets on the market, and with an Ice Cream Sandwich update inbound sometime in the coming year, it's only going to get better.
AT&T started rolling out its 4G LTE network in September of 2011, and it has slowly been lighting up more and more cities across the nation since then. Eleven new markets are seeing the LTE treatment from Ma Bell this morning, including a couple of cities that started to see some LTE action early last month: New York City Metro areas, Austin, TX; Chapel Hill and Charlotte, NC; Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco, San Diego, and San Jose, CA; Orlando, FL; and Phoenix, AZ, bringing the total number of cities under AT&T's LTE umbrella up to 26.
The minds behind CyanogenMod have done it again, bringing nightly updates to several LG Optimus variants, and adding official CM7 support for the Epic 4G (not to be confused with Sprint's Galaxy SII variant).
Among the newly-supported LG devices are the Optimus 3D (p920), Hub (e510), Pro (c660), and Black (p970) (which is technically seeing the return of nightlies). It may be worth noting that the Optimus Hub and Pro both received RomManager support tonight, making it excessively simple to get CM goodness on the devices.
Budget phone. The very sound of those two words, together, makes me slightly ill. In fact, it makes me almost immediately seethe with a sort of "nerd-rage." I hate the way budget phones are peddled onto the tech-illiterate by commission-motivated hucksters at "Big Four" carrier phone stores. I hate seeing people get locked into 2-year contracts because they got a "great deal" on a smartphone. "It was free!" they'll say, and that the nice sales representative (his name was Jimmy) kept them from buying "something they didn't need," because they walked in with a firm spending limit and they weren't going to budge!
Rockstar Games' infamous GTA franchise has reached the Android Market, right on the dot and as promised - the game is available in the Android Market right now.
The Asus Transformer Prime: the first Android device to ship with a quad-core chip, courtesy of NVIDIA's brand new Tegra 3 (Kal-El) CPU. But there's more of a hook here than power alone - Asus has gone back to the drawing board for the Prime (model number TF201) and revamped the device from nearly head to toe compared to its predecessor, the TF101. It's substantially thinner, lighter, and more attractive than the rather portly 101, while packing a much more powerful CPU, better display, and reportedly better battery life.
The official Race Of Champions game of unbelievable quality that Invictus has been teasing us with since October was just released in the Android Market. First organized in 1988, RoC is a real annual motorsport event "where stars from Formula One, World Rally Championship, NASCAR, sportscars and touring cars compete against each other, going head-to-head in identical cars" (per Wikipedia).
The Android version has stunning graphics and the level of detail you would regularly expect from a console game.